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Article

The Ultimate Episode Guide, Season I

A look at ’93-’94 episodes of ‘The X-Files’

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PILOT: THE X-FILES

WRITER: CHRIS CARTER

DIRECTOR: ROBERT MANDEL

”Nobody down here but the FBI’s least wanted” is how Mulder greets Scully after she’s assigned to the X-Files. In their first case together, the agents must determine why classmates are turning up dead in an Oregon forest, all of them displaying the puncturelike marks and nasal implants found on victims of alien abductions. Historic moment: Scully in skivvies! Creative casting: William B. Davis silently debuts as eternally puffing Cancer Man. The most enigmatic of all of X-Files‘ human enigmas, he gives the government agent a nicely hangdog air. Critique: Successfully establishes Mulder and Scully’s Fred and Ginger-meet-Dragnet relationship: two attractive, ambitious people (one obsessed to the point of being ostracized, the other ferociously concerned with objective truth, both very likable in their resolute seriousness). On the other hand, newer fans might well be amazed at how frisky the famously deadpan duo are here. A-

EPISODE 1. DEEP THROAT

WRITER: CARTER

DIR.: DANIEL SACKHEIM

”Let’s just say this case has a distinct smell to it, a certain paranormal bouquet,” says Mulder of test pilots going psychotic at Ellens Air Base in southwest Idaho. He ultimately uncovers what appears to be a top secret, Area 51-like Air Force outpost containing technology recovered from crashed alien spaceships. Historic moment: First reference to Roswell, N.M., site of a legendary, reputed 1947 downing of a UFO. Creative casting: Jerry Hardin (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) gives life to continuing character Deep Throat, Mulder’s world-weary and heavyhearted informant, obsessed with sharing secrets. Critique: You can see the show settling into its querulous, ominous tone; a little awkward, but full of promise of things to come. B+

2. SQUEEZE

WRITERS: GLEN MORGAN/JAMES WONG

DIR.: HARRY LONGSTREET

In their first of two mutants-who-can-squeeze-into-tiny-spaces-due-to-unexplained-genetic-anomaly stories, Mulder and Scully stalk Eugene Victor Tooms, a baby-faced 100-year-old killer who cheats mortality by feasting on human livers. Creative casting: Doug Hutchison (A Time to Kill) is profoundly creepy as Tooms; and Donal Logue (late of Public Morals) as an FBI foot soldier, typical in his contempt for ”Spooky” Mulder. Critique: The mixture of horror plus humor begins to jell, and the introduction of the sort of unsettling villain that was to become standard marks ”Squeeze” as an important episode. B+

3. CONDUIT

WRITERS: ALEX GANSA/HOWARD GORDON

DIR.: SACKHEIM

In this spin on Poltergeist, an Iowa town’s teenage tramp is snatched by aliens, who communicate with her younger brother via TV static. Mulder is relating big time. Historic moment: A praying Mulder — although the church, says writer Gordon, isn’t meant to imply a particular faith: ”It’s merely a sanctuary, a place for him to reestablish his helplessness and the missing of his sister.” Creative casting: Carrie Snodgress as the girl’s embattled mother, a former abductee herself. Critique: Excellent for background, but Duchovny gives a performance that makes wood look lively — a problem he normally avoids in the ”mythology” episodes. B

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